House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said during her weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday that Democrats are working on legislation to ban lawmakers from trading stocks. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 9 (UPI) -- Softening her previous opposition, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday Democrats are now working on legislation to ban members of Congress from trading stocks.
Pelosi said during her weekly Capitol Hill press conference the House Administration Committee is working "to review the options that members are putting forth" on a potential stock trading ban.
"We'll go forward with what the consensus is," she told reporters, adding that she has submitted her own criteria and thought a measure could be crafted "pretty soon."
Momentum for a stock trading ban picked up at the end of last year and continued to mount last month, when Democratic Sens. Mark Kelly of Arizona and Jon Ossoff of Georgia introduced a bill prohibiting lawmakers from trading stocks while in office.
That was followed by Republican Sen. Josh Hawley from Missouri introducing a similar bill of his own.
Shortly afterwards, 27 House members urged in a letter to Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy that they bring proper legislation forward. The letter, drafted by Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine, claims that members of Congress are meant to serve the country, not "turn a quick buck."
Pelosi, however, initially refused to give her backing to the idea that lawmakers be banned from trading individual stocks, telling reporters in December, "We're a free-market economy. They should be able to participate in that."
Although appearing to shift that stance Wednesday, Pelosi also said she wanted to see stricter enforcement of the existing Stock Act -- which requires lawmakers to report any stock trades they make within a certain time period -- and suggested that any ban be instituted "government-wide."
"The third branch of government, the judiciary, has no reporting," she noted. "The Supreme Court has no disclosure. It has no reporting of stock transactions. And it makes important decisions every day."